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Honoursmodule: All around the World: How Collective Dilemmas Shape our Lives

If everyone always agreed on everything, there would be no collective dilemmas. (And obviously, this course would not even have seen the light of day.) In real life however, we cannot seem to escape collective dilemmas, i.e. we find it difficult to agree on solutions for just about all our plans and conflicting interests.

This is as true for two individuals trying to decide which movie to see, as it is for the European Union to come up with a common monetary policy. In the end, we all have different needs, preferences, and goals. Sometimes we simply disagree fundamentally on the basics of the problem, like the death penalty. In other cases, we agree that something needs to be done, but we disagree on the necessary steps to take (think climate change, for instance). And finally, there are so-called collective action problems: situations in which all individuals would be better off cooperating, but fail to do so because of conflicting interests that discourage joint action (think ‘free riding’ and the ubiquitous ‘prisoner’s dilemma’).  

This is an interdisciplinary course jam-packed with dilemmas! To be honest, there is little chance that we will really solve any of them during the course. But being aware of the dynamics of collective dilemmas will undoubtedly improve your everyday life! Promise! And of course, many – if not most – of the dilemmas will be highly topical, and current affairs will play a major role in this course. So watch the news!

Students from all disciplines can take part. An active interest in politics and societal debates is required. (PS: some of the content of this course may already be familiar to students of political science and economics especially. In that case, choosing another honours course might be more worthwhile.)


You can find the timetable on Datanose.


Registration is possible for first, second or higher year students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start on November 29, 10 am -  December 6, 11 pm, You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS(registration is NOT through SIS or GLASS).

Please note: There is no guarantee for placement if you register after 6 December, so make sure you register on time. You will hear which course(s) you are registered for before 20 december. For questions about registration, please contact us at

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